Unemployment benefits are now available for self-employed individuals under the federally approved Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA). If you closed your business or lost enrollment because of COVID-19, you should be eligible to receive PUA.
The federal government has approved an extension of PUA benefits. With the new extension, PUA includes up to 86 weeks of benefits, beginning February 2, 2020. The date you can start collecting these benefits depends on when you were directly affected by COVID-19 and the date you filed your PUA claim.
Your claim would begin when you first experienced the impact of COVID-19. An additional $300 a week will be added as a part of the continued federal assistance for claims between December 27, 2020, and September 4, 2021.
Unfortunately, undocumented workers are not eligible for PUA as you must have legal authorization to work in the U.S. in order to qualify for unemployment insurance. However, immigrants with work authorization, including DACA recipients, green card holders and others may qualify for unemployment insurance (including PUA), stimulus payments and benefits. See this overview by Protecting Immigrant Families for more information.
EDD is experiencing a surge in the number of new claims, so be prepared for delays in getting your claim processed. However, the usual requirements that you be “able and available for work” and actively searching for work are temporarily suspended.
To learn more about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), click here.
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